Thursday, 5 May 2016

Prokhorovka Battle One : Blitzkrieg Commander

The three battles we are planning for our mini Prokhorovka campaign are shown (rather crudely) on the sketch I have marked up below again taken from the excellent Osprey Book by Mark Healy.

So our first battle sees the 1SS Panzer Leibstandarte Adolf Hilter Division supported by a small element of the 3SS Totenkopf Division pushing directly forward towards the town of Prokhorovka itself. Tiger tanks lead the way supported by Panzer IV's and Panzer III's. These are facing the 5th Russian Guards under Rotmistrov. Although the Russians have numerical superiority the German tanks at this time July 1943 are still superior, especially in effective range. As the history goes the Russians to counter this rushed forward on the back of a ferocious artillery bombardment effectively getting in close to negate the superior German fire power. We played this scenario with equal forces (about 4500 points) and played as a simple encounter battle which in effect it was. Using our usual Blitzkrieg rules we agreed victory would be decided by the simple breaking of the enemy. With all these 6mm games we have to have a compromise between numbers of troops/rumour and re desire to get the game completed in a reasonable evening.

The overall battlefield at the start with the railway and the edge of the town on the right hand side. German divisions are on the left.

German LAH division move forward, but are hit immediately by artillery bombardment, the Russians have Katusha rockets close to the town. We have found these slightly unreliable in the past but they knocked out a German command unit and effectively eliminated the German Anti-tank unit in the first turn ! These can be seen already burning below.

Whilst we play these historical games in our usual competitive way it is not about winning, so it felt absolutely right for the Germans to drive on in an appropriate formation with Tigers leading the way. I tend to paint different Panzers in different colour schemes so you can tell at a distance what is what. The unpronounceable village of Bogoroditskoye in the distance where elements of Totenkopf are advancing.

I can't resist some more artistic shots. The Russian Tanks have surged forward (good play to the Russian commander for getting into the spirit of the battle) they are taking casualties but the Katusha rocket launchers in the foreground are continuing to cause problems.

A couloir shot of the Russian advance, mainly T34's T70's and the occasionally Churchill lend lease.

From the behind the German lines....the Russian onslaught.

Keen to get forward the Russians have made a strong flanking advance , catching Totenkopf slightly unawares with their tanks out of position.

In the centre of the battlefield the fight is hotting up with brewed up tanks on both sides, nothing can touch the Tigers at this stage but numerical superiority now the T34's are in range is starting to tell.

The flank attack close to 'Bog'

The Russians are simply throwing everything forward and although they are taking casualties so are the Germans.

A view along the railway line towards Prokhorovka, here the Germans are making some progress but it is tough going with every yard being hard fought.

Columns of smoke now rising above the battlefield 

By this stage both side were getting very close to break point. But in Blitzkrieg once you reach that break point the commanding unit can still hold things together depending on a dice roll.

The Germans reach the break point first but pass the test, morale still being high at this stage.

The Russians follow soon but also pass their test. Fightin for the Motherland clearly makes a difference. You can see in this shot the number of Russian tanks which have been taken out....but the Tigers are now looking isolated (not vulnerable though). However, with the next turn the Germans had to take a further test to stay in the game (a test is taken at the start of each turn when you have reached the breakpoint) and they duly failed cause them to withdraw from the field. We couldn't make it up but our game played as an almost accurate historical representation of the historical battle. The only difference being hte Russians just couldn't find a way to take out he Tiger Tanks....everything else but not the Tigers.

A couple more shots of the battlefield at the end as the Germans withdraw.

A really great game and fun to play. It has set up the next 2 battles really well.


  1. Very interesting. Never really fought tank battles but that seemed cool

    1. Yep a great game....all the elements I am after. 6 mm works for me for ww2

  2. Greate looking game! Some very nice pictures with the backdrop.

    1. thanks Michael.....I like the B and W shots but that is just me😊

  3. Nice looking game on a beautiful battlefield!

    1. Thanks Phil, a very close run battle but I am quite glad the Russians won.

  4. Superb looking game...and how great that it played it like the real thing!

    1. And we didn't engineer it at was a close game and the Russians could easily have failed their test at the end. Obviously fear of internal retribution was greater than their fear of the Nazis.